“Miami remains a top priority for us. But we are mindful of the challenges we had in the past and must have the right ownership group and stadium location. David has been working to secure additional partners, all if approved, would be terrific MLS owners. David and his partners have not yet been able to secure a site that we believe provides the proper access and iconic presence that will help ensure success. We remain focused on a downtown Miami location, and we will not expand to Miami unless we have a downtown site for the stadium.”
With Garber, you never know when he’s spinning things. In this case, it looks like he’s politicking in order to apply pressure on the Miami-Dade politicians to know that MLS and Beckham are serious when they want a downtown Miami location for a MLS team. Or does he completely believe it’s a scenario of “downtown Miami or bust”?
A downtown Miami location next to the water would make it one of the most beautiful stadiums in the United States. Garber, MLS and Beckham would be able to get a ton of media coverage and kudos that focused on the stadium, which would fuel numerous feel-good media pieces about the Miami MLS team.
In Garber’s quote, you can read between the lines that the stadium location was one of the reasons why Miami Fusion failed, which is completely untrue. The Lockhart Stadium location was ideal — down the street from I-95, and easily accessible for soccer fans from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The only reason why the Fusion failed was because owner Ken Horowitz didn’t want to invest in the team any longer, and MLS didn’t want to bankroll the team until a new investor was found.
In Garber’s quote, something else to pay close attention to is that he focuses on two important parts regarding the stadium location. “David and his partners have not yet been able to secure a site that we believe provides the proper access and iconic presence that will help ensure success.”
I don’t blame Garber for wanting a stadium that has an iconic presence. We all want that, but it shouldn’t be the top priority. His point that the stadium be one that “provides the proper access” is peculiar because there are stadiums throughout South Florida that would provide far better access than one that’s locked into downtown Miami. If you live in downtown Miami or Miami Beach, it’s a perfect location. But a downtown Miami location doesn’t provide “proper access” for soccer fans in western Miami-Dade County, or Broward and Palm Beach counties — which is home to the majority of soccer fans in the area.
While Garber’s words may be a way to try to help apply more pressure on Miami-Dade politicians, Garber’s insistence on a downtown Miami location is unfortunate, and here’s why.